Gabey Goh
Jul 1, 2016

CPC-loving Asia still undecided on what ‘viewable’ means: Exponential

Viewability continues to be a hot button issue for the digital industry in Asia, but the focus on CPC metrics won’t be going away anytime soon.

Gerard Lechau
Gerard Lechau

SINGAPORE – Gerard Lechau, Exponential’s commercial director, SEA & North Asia believes the region is moving in the right direction by having open discussions on viewability.

“The situation we’re currently seeing is that the region is a melting pot of different technological maturities,” he added. “But open discussions helps the industry as a whole to get on the same page despite being such a diverse region.”

One such example is Asia’s love for buying cost per click (CPC). As an advertiser, the perception is that the risk falls onto the supply side to perform.

However, Lechau noted that CPC opens up yet another set of issues, much of which is around how clicks can drive tremendous fraud traffic – a concern especially for Asia Pacific countries.

“Against this backdrop, there are pushes to increase resources aimed at combating CPC fraud,” he added. “Continued discussions on these issues will allow us to objectively weigh the pros and cons, and make smarter decisions rather than a one-size-fits-all resolve that one option is always better than the other.”

When it comes to the topic of viewability, according to Lechau there still seem to be diverging views on what it means, despite plenty of time already devoted to a standardised definition.

“In my opinion, the main issue in Asia Pacific will continue to be coming to an agreement on what it means to be ‘viewable’,” he said.

The company’s recently released whitepaper seeks to consolidate industry thoughts on viewability and outlines the ways in which viewability standards can be defined, measured, utilized and ultimately, improved upon.

Lechau clarified that while whitepaper does not draw insights directly from APAC, the relevancy to APAC markets is its distinct trickle effect. The learnings contribute to research interests around viewability, and are likely to be quickly embraced and adapted across APAC regions.

The region is already engaged in its own discussions, with IAB Singapore announcing the launch of an initiative to establish a benchmark for digital ad viewability in Southeast Asia in May.

“The completion of the IAB Viewability whitepaper in September is a move which will deeply impact how we conduct our business in the region moving forward,” said Lechau.

But while definitions and standards are being locked down, Lechau believes the industry may need to invest more time in applying viewability standards into best practices, developing and distributing effective advertising by first focusing on user-engagement with the brand and the content around it.

“After all, knowing that Red Bull has bought the most viewability inventory would not be of concern to consumers, who would rather engage with content that delivers on the brand’s identity of extreme sporting and adrenaline-junky stunts, such as parachute diving from the edge of space,” he added.

Key takeaways from the whitepaper include:

  • Not all viewability vendors currently measure your ads in the same way - pick the right accredited vendor based on two things – the quality of their tech and what makes sense for your ads.
  • Whilst a decent baseline of viewability makes obvious sense, it quickly becomes apparent that the law of diminishing returns applies when trying to increase viewability upwards of 70 percent and higher. Moving the needle on already-high viewability rates can prove expensive, and will not yield the campaign success that the fundamentals of creative messaging and effective targeting will deliver.

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